Monday, August 08, 2022

Ten Minute Breather

Up early this morning and after a quick tea, changed the baby and then played with her for an hour hoping she would go back to sleep but no luck. She is a very sweet baby (now at 3 months) and even sweet when she is cranky. We are wearing N95 masks whenever we are close to her just to protect her from any asymptomatic COVID.   Wearing these masks  most of the time in the house  and all of the time we are around her, really gives me perspective on how difficult it  is to wear them for  long periods of time!  I now have empathy for those who protested, but  not enough to wave their ignorance.

Wearing this  mask and hauling laundry up and down narrow stairs  from the top  floor to the basement also makes me  realize I need to find some other exercises to give me more stability.  It does  not  help  when the mask pushes my trifocals out  of alignment either or the basket moves off my hip and locks my view.

My son is still running a fever of 99+ on the third day and hiding out in the dark basement which is his sound studio. It is cramped and full of electronic gear but has a bathroom all to himself.  Hopefully now that Monday has arrived, he can get an appointment with his  doctor and see about  geting Paxlovid.  I am  not sure how  contagious he will remain even after that.  It seems it took a  President  to show  us there is no magic bullet.  We will depend on tests.  I made him go sit outside for 10 minutes for  some change of scenery.  It is so hot and humid but maybe he got some vitamin D.

Their dog also demands walking and feeding times.  He  is too big for me to walk and he has to be fed sharply at 6:00 AM.  I think he has them well-trained, but it  does present problems when you then have a child!

Ah well, they are learning  the hard way.  I have an important appointment with the TSA in  a few days and hope that my daughter-in-laws mother can come down and help for  a while.

It is amazing  how much time is taken up with feeding, entertaining and changing a 3-month-old, making sure the dog is happy, doing laundry and helping with cooking in  a kitchen that  is not  mine.

Regarding our houseguest which I  mentioned in the prior post, it appears he  has broken his collar bone and hubby is trying to get a follow-up appointment with a specialist today.  Looks like we will have him with us for a few weeks (months?) more.  He drove up in a big truck pulling an airstream, so  he is not going to be able to make a getaway any time  soon.

Send thoughts  to  the powers that be for  good energies  here to  keep baby safe and  speed up healing  for those who are ill.  Thanks.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Jekyll and Sapelo Islands and 16 Children

Putting aside the reality and seriousness of this world this morning, I will reminisce about my recent trip to the East Coast of Georgia with my husband and my 11-year-old grandson. Hubby and I have been boosted twice and grandson once. We we cautious but felt this opportunity was too important to postpone. Every time a grandchild turns 10 we take them on a trip of their choosing somewhere in the US. My grandson is 11, so we have postponed it once already. It is an opportunity for us to really get some one-on-one time, except, it is usually heavily scheduled. 

I apologize for the length of this post without photos, but it is what it is. 

Our trip out was a bit of chaos. We picked up C. at a restaurant midway between homes, where we had lunch with his mother. We got back to our house about 3:00 and as I sat down at the computer and checked my calendar, I realized that our drive down was supposed to have started that morning! It is a little over 11 hours and we broke it up into two days. Thus, we were already a few hours behind! 

We threw our gear into the car (all had been prepacked) and we headed out as I called ahead to the hotel to tell them we would check in after 10:00 that night. I was busy making sure that my grandson's gear was correctly stowed and that we had packed drinks and snacks. I had moved my two suitcases and small bag to the driver's side of the driveway for hubby to load. He was getting his suitcase from the house, so I moved in my large suitcase to the trunk while I pulled out some stuff to make more room and moved grandsons' stuff to the backseat. Then I got into the  car and made the call to the hotel as we backed out. I asked hubby if he had loaded everything, and he said yes. 

Lesson learned here is that if your husband has beginning dementia, you must follow through on your own for everything. When we got to the hotel I saw that he had walked right by the two small bags of mine sitting by the car and got into the car and started out! I was panicked, because my camera was one of the small bags and my toiletries, pajamas and medicine were in the other. I was angry and frustrated. All could be replaced except we had left in pouring rain and my camera bag would be soaked and I certainly needed my medicine for my chronic cough. 

In the hotel room as I opened my big bag to find something to sleep in, I saw I HAD packed my medicines in a small pocket. Relief passed over me as I accepted that a quick run to the nearby Target the next morning would replace the PJs, make-up, hair dryer, sunscreen, bug spray, and other stuff that had been left behind. I had failed to take my small camera out of my purse, so it would have to be the substitute. I also had my phone camera, but I have never like trying to take photos with it, although it does a fair job. (There are no photos to post as I am up at my son's house right now which another whole story.) 

 The next day we ate breakfast, shopped quickly and completed the second leg of our journey to Jekyll Island, Georgia. The hotel where Road Scholar had us pre-booked was a lovely old historic building sprawling across acres of grass and old trees with a croquet area, a swimming pool, trails to nearby historic sites, etc. 

 We soon met up with our group. Most of the children were not ten, but eleven and twelve. There were 8 boys and 8 girls. Because of this, perhaps, the rest of the trip was filled with giggling and roughhousing, etc. as they showed off for each other. There were a few times that they did not pay attention and when they wanted to have a table all to themselves without grandparents at dinner, this chaos lasted only one evening. A few of the young boys had ADHD and that added to the chaos. My grandson was not at all interested in the wild behavior. I am sure that some of the grandparents thought he was shy and nerdy with his glasses, etc., but he actually was not interested in crazy behavior but interested in a nice dinner with us. It certainly made our job easier. As a result we did enjoy the trip very much.

 Some of the grandparents were singles, some had serious health issues that required bravery on their part to keep up with the tours and stairs and sometimes odd seating. After a walk across a meadow that was supposed to house gopher tortoises and an arrival at the canal where the children would use dipnets to catch creatures for looking at under the microscope, one of the grandmothers leaned against a wooden fence over the canal in exhaustion and the fence gave way! It took several people to pull her back up before she completely fell in, and it did frighten her husband. 

 Another grandfather who was trying every single day to keep up did take a nasty fall adding cuts and bruises. 

 One of the visits was to an old lighthouse where we could go all the way to the top, about 129 steps. I made it up in the heat and humidity, but the next day my femor muscles were hurting with every other staircase I took on that day. 

 We also had a private show by some of the Gullah Geechee singers in which our grandchildren got to participate. This might have been my favorite activity. The children also went on a small shrimp trawler where they were able to look at and even handle some of the creatures in the waters of the sound such as stingrays, sharks and spot fish. All in all, it was a fulfilling trip and I learned much. 

This post is getting waaay too long so I will not talk about the scary near miss car accident on the drive home doing 70 to keep up with traffic on the freeway. Suffice it to say we missed any damage. I am posting no pictures, because I have had to rush to my son's house to help with the babysitting, as my son seems to have contracted COVID and his wife has to start work again and they need baby support. My husband is back home entertaining our house guest from Florida (his nephew) which is another story in itself as they ended up in the emergency room last night! Does this never end????

Saturday, July 30, 2022

I am Dancing as Fast as I Can

I am just going to post a bunch of unrelated photos while I breathe.

My first comment is to post my thankfulness for Blogger allowing me to meet Mage in person several times. We were strangers and have little in common and have so much in common. She loves life as do I. She loves history as do I. She has fun with photography as do I. She is an adventurer and I like to think I am but in a different way. She is more sophisticated than I as she came from a name family while I came from a farming family.  She is on the journey to another place. That journey sounds painful and stressful and also hard on George, her husband, now. That journey that we all will make at some time.  I am so glad I was brave enough to meet her and George when she came to the city near me. I will miss the insight she has on so many things. I am so glad that her family is close with her now.  

My second comment is that I am home from the Roads Scholar trip that I took with my second-to-youngest grandson.  We explored the islands of Georgia.  We experienced the culture, nature, and each other.  The trip started with a small disaster that could have been more difficult but we managed to survive.  They survived my anger and I survived all else.  There were other dangerous surprises.  I will post a brief review if you are interested.

My saga of dead appliances continues.  The dishwasher that died is still not replaced because the brand I selected is not available at any time in the future.  Since I ordered from Best Buy, the college student that helped me failed to tell me that!  I finally had to go back and cancel and order another brand.  In between, there were a number of failed appointments regarding disconnect and removal in an installation that ruined the week.  I realize that the supply lines are heavily compromised, but retail outlets have to communicate that and not let you find out weeks later!  I also had issues with the electrician who came this week to preview our electrical panel for the installation of our backup generator.  With the more dramatic weather, we decided it was a good investment(?).

Not checking my privilege, I will also complain about having to replace both boat lift motors this month as well.  Our nest egg that my husband was concerned about just sitting in a small non-interest bearing account is somewhat depleted and I am glad I did not let him invest it elsewhere.

We have a step-cousin on a visit in a few days.  He is not close to my husband but we are happy to have him stay on a planned overnight.  Then the next weekend my son and his daughter and new baby are coming for a two-day visit.

I have been working for hours trying to find out why our process for getting a renewed TSA (Transportation Security Administration) KTN number is not working.  There is absolutely no way to talk to a living person except by scheduling another appointment and driving up 30 miles and I dread that the lady there will say she has no power over that database even though they took my $140.00 for a five-year renewal within days after our first appointment with her.  If those of you who live outside this privileged country think this makes this sound like a bureaucratic nightmare you have NO idea.

Summer days are hot and humid and that is why I have posted photos that make you think it is nicer here than it really is!

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Lost in Thought?

Came across the word "Compartmentalizing" the other day.  (the Brits spell it with an 's'.)  I remember first hearing-reading that word many years ago when they were describing former President Clinton and his approach to discussing issues.  I wasn't sure if they were denigrating or admiring him for this skill.

I guess it is important if you want to keep from going emotionally crazy.  Oh, Merriam-Webster's definition is" to separate into isolated compartments or categories. "  That definition is not really in-depth enough unless you think about it in context.

I found this on the web which has a bit darker definition:  "In psychology, compartmentalization is a defense mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events."

Wikipedia- "It may be a form of mild dissociation; example scenarios that suggest compartmentalization include acting in an isolated moment in a way that logically defies one's own moral code, or dividing one's unpleasant work duties from one's desires to relax. Its purpose is to avoid cognitive dissonance or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves."

"Recent Examples on the Web
Candace has that ability to compartmentalize and sort of dissociate from the things that are bothering her.
— Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022
After an intense ending to the Halloween party, Spencer tries his best to compartmentalize everything and focus on the big Homecoming game.
— oregonlive, 23 May 2022
His attempts to compartmentalize are further complicated by interactions with grieving families. — Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022

I think we may lose this skill as our lives get longer with more complicated events and actions by us and as we become less flexible in changing approaches.  Are we more sure of what our actions should be?  What do you think?  I also think I have trouble falling asleep at night due to my inability to compartmentalize.  Hubby closes his book, turns off the light, says "goodnight" and in 5-8 minutes is breathing deeply in his sleep and is out for the next nine hours.  He is great at compartmentalizing.

Are you good at it?  Do you have some trick that works?

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Time Flies By Whether I am Busy or Not

Saturday already. Just got back from volunteering in the Children's Garden where the last of the spring produce was harvested and taken to the Food Pantry.  It was not much to bring, sadly.  We are in that time between seasonal crops, but lots of herbs.

The installation team came for two whole days to install our new HVAC system which does run much more quietly and has all those bells and whistles, like being able to control it from your phone while you are lounging by the pool in that distant hotel!  The screen even controls the humidity very closely and tells me the temp and humidity outside.  It also came with the price tag of a used car in excellent condition!

On the same day, our young electrician friend (Who made some major error as a supervisor with our local electrical company and is now again unemployed!) came and helped us fix the hanging ceiling in the basement and restore the shorted wire.  It looks almost new once again.  I think hubby paid him $25 an hour which will probably not provide food for the week!  The ceiling above was not damp and the wood not wet, so odd that the tiles absorbed it all.

I managed to squeeze in time to get my haircut, but I am growing tired of the style and thinking of letting it grow out...maybe wait until fall.

The luncheon with our 96-year-old friend was delightful.  She is still very sharp although slowing down physically and unable to do stairs.  We are going to try to make this luncheon a regular thing because her daughters took away her car on her birthday.  She has not had an accident, but they felt it was time.  One of the daughters is a psychotherapist...Ahem.  All three daughters live an hour or more from her.  She lives in a retirement community where there is lots of assistance and easy transport, but she said not having a car makes her feel isolated.

My daughter and the two grandchildren arrive tomorrow night for an overnight and morning visit the next day for Father's Day.  I have no idea what to cook and am thinking of ordering out.  I will make a ricotta cheesecake this afternoon.

I have a high school friend arriving next week with her husband from the midwest.  They will be staying elsewhere with relatives but want to meet up for one day during the week.  When we made this plan my week was pretty open.  Now I only have Tuesday really free.

I also have to drive up on Wednesday to the city to babysit my new grandchild and then stay overnight and come back on Thursday.  There is a farewell dinner for a friend that we are going to that Thursday early evening!  I am going to bring a fruit platter as I have no time for a potluck casserole!

Thus far I have nothing on the Friday and Saturday that is to come, but with my luck, my gregarious husband will book something!

(Oh, the biopsies were both benign, but they want to squeeze my mammary glands more often in the future!  I laughed at the Doctor's notes..." procedure was tolerated well by the patient."  That is a matter of opinion as I screamed bloody murder at least twice during the hour. )

For those of you missing your fathers, you are lucky to have had such love, and for those who still have fathers, take them their favorite food or make a date to share time in the future.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Bees Are Not This Busy

My last post was on May 31st, a little over two weeks ago. I am getting lazier or busier. Which is it? 

Let me see, looking at my calendar: I have had a "personal interview" to renew and update my TSA number for traveling. TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration. That is a 40-minute drive from my house to the Vehicle Administration Building.  I am still waiting for the number as it will take 10 or more days to get the number to be able to move into the "faster" line at the airport. No removing of shoes, etc. This luxury costs about $100 and lasts about(?) five years. 

I helped with the crowds of visitors at the Master Gardener Booth at the Children's garden. That was at least five hours of talking and taking promo photos and transplanting free native plants to give away. 

My granddaughter got a new job so we had to postpone our trip to later on that Saturday.

So, on the same day later in the afternoon, I went up to the city and took my granddaughter on a clothes shopping trip for a belated birthday.  After a few hours of enlightenment on what teenagers are wearing these days---not much (I really could not tell the difference between bras and "outer" tops!) .  I also learned that my daughter and granddaughter's favorite perfume is $300 a bottle!  Not buying that for her birthday.  I did learn that all of the most popular items at the make-up store were not available.  We are continuing to suffer from transportation issues due to the WAR and COVID.

Long lines to try on clothes.  Yes, this is an upper-middle-class mall.

Using the screens to scroll through hundreds of stores.

The very next afternoon, I helped with another Master Gardener booth at a nearby museum and historic mansion.  Over 800 visitors!  That evening I was wiped or whipped like fine cream and really wanted a reprieve, but....

The VERY NEXT day I headed up to the local radiology center (another 30-minute drive) and had not one but two breast biopsies.  This time I asked for some Xanax as my biopsy over two decades ago was pretty traumatic.  It was still extremely painful.  Hubby drove me up and back.  I learn later today the results.  This time she nicked an artery and my left boob looks like ...well never is not pleasant.

I relaxed last week after all the above.  This week I have the repair people coming to replace the HVAC system which will take two full days, maybe lots of noise, and a large closing payment.  Living without AC is no longer possible in this climate-changing world.  The rest of the basement ceiling tiles that had absorbed water finally gave way this week and now, I need an electrician and a handyman.

On Thursday I got up my energy (remember I am an introvert) to call a 96-year-old friend I have not seen since before COVID and am taking her out to lunch at a local restaurant.  She is a little hard of hearing and I can tell by talking to her on the phone that she is slowing down, so I am gearing down.  She is a brilliant nutritionist, so it is hard for me to see this.

Then on Friday my daughter and maybe some of the grands are coming down for a Father's Day visit.  Only the evening and perhaps a bit of the morning on Saturday.  They are SO VERY BUSY.  They really are.  Just following their few posts on FB makes me exhausted.

Well, that gets me through this next week.  At least I have an excuse for failing to update my blog.  I hope those of you that celebrate real Father's Day and Volunteer Father's Day have it full of hugs and gentle memories.  

And aren't you jealous at how busy I am...EGAD.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Pouring/Spilling Water

An early morning boat trip that I will write about on my other blog...soon

Yesterday we brought down the bird feeders. We had not been filling them for a couple of weeks, but it was time to wash them to remove any mold, fungus, or diseases so we could use them next fall.  A small percentage of my finches carry eye disease and I do not want to spread it to the other birds.  Birds rarely come to the feeders this time of year anyway because the bugs that are flying and crawling about are much higher nutrition and also the type of thing that is digestible to the baby fledglings.  

I have a deep sink in the laundry room and sprayed the feeders with a pet rug spray. (It really works wonders, something I bought when we fostered that dog.)  I then add a cap of bleach to the water in the sink and soak the feeders for an hour.  

I went on my merry way to do so many other chores that had been piling up but had to go back to the laundry room a while later to drop off some laundry.  I was dismayed to find that the faucet had not been turned off completely and water was sneaking over the counter and down onto the linoleum floor as well as behind the doubled stacked washer and dryer and then into the floor vent!  This was when I learned that my laundry room deep sink does NOT have an overflow drain!  It was just a small bit of water running, but that can add up in no time.

It took 30 minutes to mop up, move the heavy rug on the floor and wring out the rags I was using.  I had stopped the water from flowing across the floor from behind the washer to the floor vent, but next had to check the basement.

The water was dripping rapidly from ceiling tiles ( a dropped ceiling) and flooded the tiled floor to hubby's office and his boat gear room.  I had him help me carry out the dripping rug to the table on the patio and then went back to put a bucket under the main area where water was dripping and to mop and dry the rest of the floor with a portable fan.

At least 8 ceiling tiles in the basement are stained and will have to be replaced.  Since I avoid going on ladders, I will need to find a helper!

This was most annoying because earlier this week our heat pump in the attic had frozen coils which filled the aluminum pan beneath the unit and then dripped water out the corner of the trim to the attic stairway and onto the wooden floor and side of the oriental rug in the guest bedroom.  Hubby and I were in bed and the evening rain had started.  At first, I thought that was the sound of rain on the roof, but realized the rhythm was weird.  Fortunately, we caught that "spilled" water in a few minutes and turned off the heat pump as hubby sopped up the water from the drain pan with a sponge and I cleaned up the floor and put down a bucket.  (The repairman recommended replacing both AC/Heat units as they are 18-years-old!)

I know that pouring water is a ritual in many spiritual communities, but I had to look up "spilled" water.  It seems that in most cases it means a change to good fortune or good luck---don't we all need that! I am waiting... guess it happens after the fortune we have to pay for two new HVAC units.  

Since I keep spilling a small bit of water when filling my coffee maker in the same place, one article said it was a spirit that was trying to get my attention! 

Do you have any water issues that you confront?